A number of years ago, I met Joe. Joe lost his right leg to cancer. When my kids started at their school, we all met John, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident. I of course, have my right leg intact though it is charred by burns. Wonder what it is like to realize someone else has a right leg injury? It’s kind of awesome. I became fast friends with both Joe and John, and though others may not always understand, we have 100% rights to joke about our injuries with each other, to share some dark-black humor and deep belly laughs. John regularly tells me, “Your leg is so ugly you should just cut it off.” And I laugh uproariously. Same with Joe. In many ways, I think their injuries are worse than mine. They grew up with their right legs and lost them as adults. For me, the way my leg is, is mostly all I’ve known since age 2.
I’ve worked with this particular company for about five years and this weekend was invited to a retreat with them at a lovely Miami resort, The Doral. After the work this morning, the company sponsored golf, tennis and swimming and I was flumoxxed. I really wanted to join the tennis tournament. But tennis would require shorts and for as many relationships as I’ve built, I wasn’t ready to show the burned leg. Swimming? Not so much. Too many explanations required. And that is the paradox of it all for me. It takes a lot of energy to explain the burns. If I don’t explain them, people stare and politely don’t ask. Which in many ways is worse. Trust me, I’ve dealt with it my whole life. I wonder a lot whether it makes the other people more uncomfortable or me more uncomfortable. I always feel that I am responsible to lead the discussion and put people at ease, which is in so many ways is exhausting for me. In any event, I always see it as a choice to make — do I share or don’t I? Does it put me too much in the spotlight instead of taking the time to focus on everyone else, which is largely easier? So, I opted for the facial. Private room, spa setting. No one is the wiser. It makes me feel disingenuous in a way — shouldn’t I just lay everything on the table and wear a swimsuit or pair of shorts? Just be confident and throw others’ opinions to the wind! But that would bring unwanted attention and possibly sympathy to me, sympathy that simply makes me uncomfortable. I have worked my entire life to NOT be defined by my burns. In the final analysis, I wasn’t ready to do it today. I wonder if other people here at Doral hide something of interest? I feel paranoid. I shouldn’t have to overthink like this. What lays below the surface. Has anyone ever felt the same?
- John Mayer Wears Short Shorts Playing Tennis Down Under! (popsugar.com)